- Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety"), for piano & orchestra or 2 pianos
- Concerto in F, for piano & orchestra
The individual performances on this release, from Finland and featuring an American-British pianist with a Russian orchestra and conductor, are strong but not extraordinary. The Gershwin "Piano Concerto in F" has been given livelier jazz rhythms, although pianist Ingrid Jacoby and the Russian National Orchestra under Dmitry Liss deliver a clean, broad reading. Other performers, not least the composer himself, have gone further into the strangely questing, unsettled quality of Leonard Bernstein's "Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety." The surprise of Bernstein's highly eclectic mixture, including jazz, twelve-tone technique, and a Mahlerian determination to encompass multiple musical perspectives, grafting all these onto a piano-and-orchestra format and a detailed musical program on top of that, must have been considerable in 1949, but it doesn't really come through here; neither Jacoby nor Liss captures Bernstein's flamboyance. Yet this release has something going for it that sets it apart from the competition: as they say in literature classes these days, the two works have something to say to each other. Gershwin and Bernstein aren't programmed together much, and they should be; Bernstein was in a way Gershwin's successor, and he offered a model for connecting American vernacular and concert traditions at a time when such connections were under attack from an entrenched modernist cabal. The contrast of the plucky jazz piano with the ponderous orchestra in the Bernstein comes out after hearing Gershwin in a way that it doesn't otherwise, and for this, along with excellent sound and engaging notes (in English only), the album merits recommendation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love this recording! The pianist's technique is exceptionally clean, articulate and quite spell-binding. I have listened to other interpretations of The Age of Anxiety & it is refreshing to hear clarity instead of being drowned with pedal. Very exciting to listen to plus the musical lines are captivating. The Gershwin is likewise very musical and intriguing. This recording is one of my favorites.
Gershwin's Concerto in F is one of my favorite pieces of all time. A pianist himself, Gershwin knew exactly how to write for his instrument. This piece is filled with excitement and surprises. There are ups and downs in tempo, phrasing, and dynamics. Ms. Jacoby is well-suited for this piece. She plays with brilliant articulation and phrasing. Her expression of the emotions of the piece comes through the other side of the recording! Particularly stunning is the third movement Allegro agitato.what excellence by the Russian National Orchestra and Mr. Liss! It moved with great energy and emphasis on all the previous melodies! It ends with the expansive orchestral and piano collaboration to the final chord! Exhilarating! Bernstein used W. H. Auden's The Age of Anxiety as the subject or his Second Symphony. Also a pianist, you can tell that the soloist's personal perspective is heard throughout the piece. This piece follows four characters through their spiritual journey. I am not as familiar with this piece but found it very well executed. The entire work has themes of thoughtful meditation and restless uncertainty. It seems to depict the discovery of new and unsure ideas as the characters go on their life's journey.